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The Outsiders


S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders
average rating is 4 out of 5

Crime, Classics, Fiction

R. Alex Jenkins

I enjoyed The Outsiders a lot in a strangely disposable way, as not particularly profound or life changing, regularly feeling rushed and throwaway, but what a terrific breath of fresh air nonetheless, written with such freedom and reckless abandon.

I see reflections of myself and others in so many places, I see mods and rockers fighting on Brighton beach for territorial bragging rights, I see Elvis versus The Beatles for pop-hero worship status, even Hank Williams gets a mention. Greasy hair, baggy jackets, switchblades and at least two packets of cigarettes per day.

The way this is written reflects the characters in the book: young, hot-headed, relishing life and dying early with bullets in their back, and I can't believe this book was started by a 15-year-old girl and published in 1967 when she was only 16, back in a time when there were no word processors or computers. That is amazing fluidity and talent.

So real and alive, who cares about the YA age group it's supposedly written for. There’s something here for everyone of all genders, orientations and ages.

If only Susan Hinton had hooked up with someone like Jack Ketchum 40 years ago, we would now have the mother and father of crime-action-horror, not that they need each other to improve their early work, as writing with such abandon, enthusiasm and less experience is often best of all, like the first album of artists who never successfully replicate it in sophomore releases.

The Outsiders made me happy and I’d like to embrace some of those kids and tell them it’s going to be all right in the end. Life gets a whole lot better (but much less fun)!

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